Dolly Parton Predicted Beyonce Would Cover ‘Jolene’ Two Years Ago

March 29, 2024

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Today is officially a “marvelous day” in Dolly Parton‘s life since she practically willed Beyoncé’s cover of “Jolene,” on the just-released Cowboy Carter album, into existence a couple of years ago.

Back when Trevor Noah was hosting The Daily Show, he asked Parton about a rumor he’d heard that she would like Beyoncé to put her spin on it. As included in a recent Threads post, Noah wanted to know why, with 400 extant versions of the tune already in the universe, she was so set on Bey?

“I don’t know if she’s even got the message, but wouldn’t that be killer?” Parton opined. “I think she’s fantastic and beautiful, and I love her music. I would just love to hear ‘Jolene’ done in just a big way, kind of like how Whitney did my ‘I Will Always Love You,’ just someone who can take my little songs and make ’em like powerhouses. So that would be a marvelous day in my life, if she ever does do ‘Jolene.’”

Well, today is the day. Beyoncé retained the original tune’s disquietude, but instead of making it big, as Parton had expected, she dialed it back even more. Where Parton’s had a thumping drum track, Beyoncé chose to rely solely on acoustic guitar to drive the tune. She also tweaked the lyrics. “Jolene, I know I’m a queen, Jolene,” Queen Bey sings. “I’m still a Creole banjee bitch from Louisianne.” And where Parton sounded meek and pleading, Beyoncé whispered, “Don’t try me.” The powerhouse moment comes toward the end when a choir sings along with her.

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Parton revealed earlier this month that Beyoncé had recorded a rendition of the song she first released in 1973. “I think she’s recorded ‘Jolene’ and I think it’s probably gonna be on her country album, which I’m very excited about that,” Parton told Knox News.

Parton released “Jolene” in 1973, and it quickly became a signature song for her. As Noah noted, artists have covered the tune countless times, with internationally charting versions coming from Olivia Newton-John, the White Stripes, and Pentatonix with Parton. In 1995, Kirsty MacColl released “Caroline,” a response song from Jolene’s point of view.

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